Dolce & Gabbana Designers Sentenced to Jail

The judgment has come down in the case against Dolce & Gabbana, and the result is not what the designers would have hoped: They have been found guilty of tax evasion and sentenced to prison.

WWD is reporting that Italian judge Judge Antonella Brambilla has ruled that designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana will serve one year and eight months in jail for tax evasion. (Depending on how that jail time would span, it could conceivably cover at least four major fashion seasons).

The prosecution had initially requested that the designers each serve two and a half years, while also requesting time for Domenico's brother and board member Alfonso Dolce, board member and general director Cristiana Ruella, and finance director Giuseppe Minoni. Dolce & Gabbana's accountant, Luciano Patelli, may be sentenced to three years as the "main orchestrato of the evasion scheme," per WWD. Charges stem from the 2004 sale of Dolce & Gabbana brands to the Luxembourg-based company Gado Srl, which prosecutors allege was done for the sole purpose of evading Italian taxes.

This jail time is on top of a $440 million fine levied in 2012 related to the same charges. The designers' tax troubles date back to 2010, when they were first slammed with the lawsuit that was initially dropped due to lack of evidence before being reopened by the Italian Supreme Court last year.

Dolce and Gabbana are expected to appeal the decision; the Twitter hashtag #freedolceandgabbana has already taken off.

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